MAYNARD, John (c.1592-1658), of Tooting Graveney, Surr.; later of Gt. Isleham, Cambs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



12 Mar. 1624
20 Jan. 1647

Family and Education

b. c.1592,1 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Henry Maynard† (d.1610) of Easton Lodge, Little Easton, Essex and Susan, da. and coh. of Thomas Pierson of Westminster, usher of Exch. and Star Chamber; bro. of Charles* and Sir William*.2 educ. I. Temple 1611;3 ?St. John’s, Camb. 1612;4 embassy, Spanish Neths. 1621,5 Utd. Provinces 1622.6 m. by 1630,7 Mary (admon. 20 May 1681),8 da. of Sir Thomas Myddelton I* of London and Chirk Castle, Denb.,9 1s. 4da.10 cr. KB 1 Feb. 1626.11 d. 29 July 1658.12 sig. John Maynard.

Offices Held

Gent. of privy chamber by 1621-at least 1641;13 officer of the stable bef. 1625.14

Commr. oyer and terminer, Cambs. 1640,15 assessment, Surr. 1643-7, Cambs. 1647, New Model Ordinance, Surr. 1645, reform of Oxf. Univ. 1647, militia, Cambs. and Surr. 1648.16


On his father’s death in 1610, Maynard inherited several hundred acres of land in the Home Counties, including properties at St. Albans, Hertfordshire, and the manor of Tooting Graveney where he made his home.17 He entered the Inner Temple alongside his brother Sir William in the following year, and if he was indeed the man of this name who became a fellow-commoner at St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1612, he began his university studies unusually late.18 By the end of the decade, he was cutting a dash at Court. He performed alongside Prince Charles and the duke of Buckingham in the Twelfth Night masque of 1619, prompting Chamberlain to comment: ‘young Maynard ...bears away the bell for dancing and were otherwise a very proper man but that he is extreme purblind’. By 1621 he had become a gentleman of the privy chamber. In July 1622, while attending the English ambassador in the United Provinces, he sent the royal favourite a first-hand account of the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom, describing himself as the duke’s ‘entire and devoted servant’.19 In November 1623, a masque of Maynard’s ‘invention’ was performed at Buckingham’s London residence, York House. A celebration of Prince Charles’s return from Madrid, it offended the Spanish envoys and was received with ‘little or no commendation’, but it was apparently revived in the following August at the duke’s house in Rutland, Burley-on-the-Hill. As master of the Horse, Buckingham presumably procured Maynard’s post in the king’s stables.20

On 21 Jan. 1624 Maynard was elected to Parliament at Chippenham through the influence of his brother-in-law, Sir Edward Bayntun*. However, he also stood at St. Albans as a nominee of Prince Charles’s Council, and Sir William Maynard, believing that success in Hertfordshire was guaranteed, sent instructions for his brother Charles to be substituted as the candidate in Wiltshire. By this stage the Chippenham indenture had already been drawn up, but Bayntun persuaded the borough to erase Maynard’s name and insert his brother’s. Meanwhile, word of the initial Chippenham verdict had reached the Prince’s Council, and on 31 Jan. the St. Albans nomination was withdrawn, leaving Maynard without either burgess-ship.21 It was left to Bayntun, who had himself been returned at Devizes, to salvage the situation. On 2 Mar. he acquainted the committee for privileges with the sequence of events, and ten days later the Commons voted to accept an official fiction that Charles’s name had appeared on the Chippenham indenture merely in error, thereby allowing Maynard to reclaim the seat.22

During this Parliament Maynard was named to only one committee. This concerned a bill about the New River, which ran close to Sir William Maynard’s estates (22 March). However, on 3 Apr. he was also appointed to attend a conference with the Lords on recusancy. On 25 Mar. he dismissed reports that rioters in the Strand had threatened the Spanish ambassadors, thereby helping to prevent moves to offer the envoys redress. As a Buckingham client, he naturally also pitched into the attack on lord treasurer Middlesex (Sir Lionel Cranfield*), arguing shrewdly on 15 Apr. that the House should focus on his role in introducing fresh impositions, rather than explore the contentious subject of impositions in general.23

Maynard retained his privy chamber post under Charles I. In the first Parliament of the new reign he again represented Chippenham, and unsuccessfully sought to persuade the Commons to increase its offer of supply from two to three subsidies, ‘one to welcome [Charles] to the kingdom and two for the affairs of the commonwealth’ (30 June). When discussion turned to war finance at Oxford, he called, on 9 Aug. for a properly financed sea-borne expedition against Spain, as against a land campaign or privateering. He opposed the granting of subsidies in reversion, and urged the House ‘to add spurs to the seahorses by giving’, successfully moving for a further debate the next day. On 10 Aug. he justified his proposal for a subsidy and two fifteenths by praising the leadership of Charles and Buckingham, and implying that the Commons had a patriotic duty to back them financially.24

Maynard’s standing at Court was confirmed by his creation as a knight of the Bath at Charles’s coronation. Although not a Member of the 1626 Parliament, he was elected in 1628 for Calne, a borough situated a few miles from Chippenham, presumably with Bayntun backing. During the first session he again received just one committee nomination: to consider an estate bill promoted by his kinsman the 2nd earl of Devonshire (Sir William Cavendish I*) (10 June).25 However, his main objective in entering Parliament this time was undoubtedly to defend royal policy and Buckingham. He tried to divert a debate on 24 Mar. about deputy lieutenants’ abuses by proposing that the investigating committee should also consider wider militia reforms. On 19 Apr. he defended the principle of martial law, and argued against moves to regulate it by statute. As the bill to confirm the liberties of the subject took shape, he backed the most moderate option, a simple confirmation of Magna Carta and other relevant Acts (2 May). When the king’s opposition to further glosses on these old safeguards became clear, Maynard argued that the most effective way to protect liberty and religion was to work with Charles, who sought to combat popery at home and abroad. While confirmation of Magna Carta was a sensible safeguard, freedoms would be lost if parliament fell into disrepute with the Crown (5 May).26

The Commons ignored this warning, and Maynard fell silent for the next month. However, it was probably at this juncture that he circulated to several friendly preachers a ‘discourse’ defending Buckingham against charges of Arminianism, and asserting that any blame for recent grievances lay with the Privy Council as a whole, not specifically with the duke, who had supported the summoning of Parliament. Maynard later assured Buckingham that these efforts had helped to bolster the moderates in the Commons until the king gave his first, qualified assent to the Petition of Right.27 He was goaded into further action by the direct attacks on Buckingham during the formulation of the Remonstrance at the end of May and beginning of June. Behind the scenes he lobbied vigorously against the Remonstrance, or so he later claimed, approaching at least 60 Members and dissuading many of them from openly attacking Buckingham.28 In the chamber itself he proved no less vocal. On 6 June he claimed that the Cadiz expedition had failed not through poor leadership but because of inaccurate intelligence about the military targets. On the following day he regaled the House with extracts from Machiavelli on the dangers of using mercenaries, in order to lay the blame for key setbacks at the Ile de RĂ© on Buckingham’s German engineer, Dalbier, whom he again attacked on 11 June.29 When, on 7 June, the king finally gave a satisfactory response to the Petition of Right, Maynard called for celebratory bonfires all over London. Nevertheless, the attacks on his patron continued, and on 11 June he defended the duke’s religious orthodoxy, citing his affirmation of Protestantism during the Spanish Match negotiations, and insisting that Buckingham disliked Arminianism. Three days later, he argued that, rather than devote so much space in the Remonstrance to Arminianism, the matter should be referred to a national synod.30

During the session Maynard may have used his influence with Buckingham to secure the appointment of his fellow Calne MP, George Lowe, as an esquire of the Body.31 Shortly after the prorogation, he was ‘astonished and amazed’ to find himself accused of betraying the duke. The trouble stemmed from the earlier seizure of some Jesuit correspondence which, it was rumoured, contained details damaging to Buckingham. An anonymous writer had subsequently forged a ‘Jesuit letter’ which purported to clear the duke, but which inadvertently damaged him with clumsy remarks about the mercenaries recently recruited by Dalbier, which many in the Commons feared were intended to impose arbitrary government. Since Maynard had criticized the employment of Dalbier in his speech of 7 June, Buckingham suspected that he was the author of the offending letter. Maynard dismissed this suggestion, and in his defence pointed to his general conduct in the Commons, but he also argued that the letter had served a useful purpose at the time, and failed to deny outright that he had a hand in it. He certainly made no apology to his patron, and it must be doubted whether normal relations between them were restored prior to the duke’s assassination in August.32

With Buckingham dead, Maynard took little part in the 1629 session. On 10 Feb. he received one bill committee nomination, concerned with the Somers Islands Company, and counselled comparatively lenient treatment of sheriff Acton of London, who was awaiting punishment for his part in Rolle’s Case. Three days later he used the pretext of a debate on religion to inform the House that the king had supported action against Scottish recusants.33

Maynard was married by 1630. The match brought him additional lands in Somerset, Worcestershire and Yorkshire, although he purchased his second home, at Great Isleham, Cambridgeshire, from Sir Edward Peyton* in 1637.34 Although he retained his privy chamber office until the eve of the Civil War, he sided with Parliament during the conflict, presumably because of his godly convictions. Maynard re-entered Parliament in January 1647, representing Lostwithiel, but as a prominent Presbyterian Member he was impeached by the army six months later. Tried for high treason in the following February, he achieved celebrity by his refusal to accept the House of Lords’s jurisdiction. Fined £500 and imprisoned in the Tower until June 1648, he returned to the Commons only to be secluded at Pride’s Purge. In the early 1650s he was a leading opponent of fen drainage, once more exploiting his skills as a pamphleteer. Maynard settled his estates before 13 Apr. 1655, when he used his will to make minor bequests and dispose of his moveable property. He died in July 1658, and was buried at Tooting Graveney.35

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Aged 66 in 1658: J. Aubrey, Nat. Hist. and Antiqs. of Surr. i. 221.
  • 2. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiv), 679; C142/319/195; PROB 11/75, f.86; CPR, 1572-5, p. 468.
  • 3. CITR, ii. 57.
  • 4. Al. Cant.
  • 5. BL, transcript of Trumbull ms XXIII.89.
  • 6. CD 1628, ii. 574; HMC 10th Rep. i. 107.
  • 7. PROB 11/160, f. 197.
  • 8. PROB 11/366, f. 220v.
  • 9. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. lx), 80.
  • 10. PROB 11/280, f. 226.
  • 11. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 162.
  • 12. Aubrey, i. 221.
  • 13. BL, transcript of Trumbull ms XXIII.89; LC3/1 (unfol.).
  • 14. Vis. Essex, 595.
  • 15. C181/5, ff. 177, 184.
  • 16. A. and O. i. 234, 335, 451, 541, 624, 636, 927, 961, 976, 1234, 1243.
  • 17. C142/319/195.
  • 18. CITR, ii. 57; Al. Cant.
  • 19. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 200; CD 1628, ii. 574; HMC 10th Rep. i. 107.
  • 20. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 527, 577; G.E. Bentley, Jacobean and Caroline Stage, iv. 841.
  • 21. Harl. 6806, f. 262v; Vis. Essex, 595; DCO, ‘Prince Charles in Spain’, f. 37; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 47; ‘Hawarde 1624’, p. 169; C219/38/306.
  • 22. ‘Hawarde 1624’, p. 169; CJ, i. 684a-b.
  • 23. CJ, i. 745a, 750b, 754a; ‘Holland 1624’, ii. f. 28v; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 110; C142/615/129.
  • 24. Procs. 1625, pp. 275, 430, 432, 443, 448.
  • 25. CD 1628, iv. 227; Vis. Essex, 595.
  • 26. CD 1628, ii. 90, 571, 574; iii. 220, 259.
  • 27. SP16/108/71.
  • 28. SP16/108/71.
  • 29. CD 1628, iv. 160, 188-9, 192, 260.
  • 30. Ibid. 190, 245-6, 259, 321.
  • 31. LC5/132, p. 12.
  • 32. SP16/108/71; S.R. Gardiner, Hist. Eng. 1603-42, vi. 238, 308.
  • 33. CJ, i. 928a; CD 1629, 188-9, 204.
  • 34. PROB 11/160, ff. 197v-8; C110/44(i)/4, 19, 22.
  • 35. Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, vi. 570; vii. 986-7; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 379; CSP Dom. 1653-4, p. 120 K. Lindley, Fenland Riots, 161-3, 165-7; PROB 11/280, f. 226r-v; Aubrey, i. 221.